Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Free art zone!

I was just inspired by QCImages to post on this. A positive move on the Davenport riverfront. Incorporating the Skate Park all the disperate elements and The Figge.

How about a "Open Art" or "Free Art" area. Interactive, public works of art. Areas to display new art created by young and/or local artists. Allow everyone to help decorate the skate park. Build a small stage and allow cheap/free access to musicians/comedians and theater groups. Turn the length of the river into an art fair every summer. Performing artists, street theater, grafiti art, ever changing.

When Bix Festival starts, everything is Bix and Bix themed.

Blues Fest, Blues themes.

Sports/Human/Figure themes near the Ballpark. Invite young artists to compose pieces out in the open.

Start an art festival at some point to center the whole year around.

It would work great and enhance the farmer's market, everything that goes on down there. It would draw people from free public art displays into the museum. The skybridge could lead from one art zone to another, and art all the way through it. Not just colored lights, but use the sky bridge as a blank canvas. Artists could come and decorate it the way they like!

I am totally into this idea! Imagine hearing all types of performers and seeing all types of artists interacting with the river. That could put Davenport on the map!

Thank you QCImages.

Here is my positive input!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Actors Studio SCHQC style part II

Here is a good article on a tangental topic to what I discussed earlier:

When it comes to doom and gloom about local arts, I would add in the fact that Friends of Chamber Music has folded altogether.

On the bright I often say...Prenzie Players has become one of the best theater groups in the area...if not the region.

A new chamber music group has opened up, but it is mostly...if not completely...Symphony run and organized.

One of the big things is generational. There aren't many people in the Baby boom generation taking on arts groups. Neither are there many younger people.

Artists, there are a-plenty. However, the race has gotten tougher. More people come from two career households. Often people work 50+ hours a week. The younger/wealthier people here (are there any?) aren't as interested in the arts. Those that are fly to Chicago and New York. The lack of a middle class, single career household has eliminated the "do it yourself" pulic artists from getting a foothold.

Some of the fault also lies wth people who have hung onto these art groups for way too long. People who haven't groomed a replacement to take over.

Then, the final blow is the professionalization of Arts leadership. Instead of looking for someone with passion, connection to the area, and knowledge of the area, we look for a degree in Marketing, or Arts Management or such the like. Someone who says what the board wants to hear and then uses us as a stepping stone to bigger and better things.

We need to go back to a local focus on arts. We need to support local arts groups. I think the media plays a big role in that (see previous posts). Artists need to reach out to a younger generation, but not pander to them. The community has to put their money into organizations and not buildings.

As always, would love to hear from you.


PS It is Sunday.

I am thankful for this weather, I am thankful for my children, I am thankful for the visitors who have stopped by this past week, and the time I've had to work on this blog (dang that's four. Oh well)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Free Photos/$500k toilet

Occasionally I'll throw some pictures up on the side. I am an amateur photographer (who isn't nowadays) and I am told that some of my pictures can be cool. Who's to judge? I like them.

I'm going to throw my voice in on the $500k bathroom whilst I'm here.

What a waste.

There still is no coherent vision for the River/Downtown Davenport etc. All this stuff does is force upkeep costs on those least likely to afford it; The property owners staying in Davenport. Mostly homeowners. Davenport puts up all this infrastructure and the people who use it come from the other side of the river, or LeClaire, Bettendorf, and Blue Grass. The main commercial growth in Davenport is actually occurring on the other side of town. Kick out the Casino and what kind of job base are we going to get in Downtown Davenport?

Galena has a wonderful downtown with shopping integrated with the riverfront. Davenport has very little in the way of Downtown Attractions that would feed off of the Stadium (abandoned 75% of the year) or the Art Gallery (not a huge draw), or the Band Shell (abandoned 95% of the year). The skate park, apparently, is a draw, but how much money do skaters have? That's not a slam on skaters, it's just a bit of truth. Having no money is pretty cool in my book.

So we have skaters, a bridge accross the river a usually abandoned Stadium, a usually abandoned bandshell, an actually abandoned freight house, an Indoor skating rink with no windows, and no ties to the river. Then a lot of parking for the Casino and the bandshell and the stadium that sit empty most of the year. A bridge that my kids like and is kind of fun, especially for the cost (free), but that makes no money and looks like its going to be a constant headache to maintain. Especially when the boat leaves and it really leads nowhere. Oh...we've got a bike path.

Now, we're going to add a $500,000 bathroom with treats. We hope the skaters will buy some nice treats. They'd have to be nice especially to pay for the upkeep. And when it does flood? What happens to the skate park then? What happens to the treats?

Who pays? The people too poor to get out of dodge. The people who will no longer have money to go to the Art Museum, or the Stadium because their taxes are too high.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Go die! (Cartoons Redux)

Alright, so I forgot a great comic. Shane reminded me of it, though he didn't know he was. A little help from B. Metcalf didn't hurt none neither. So...without further ado...go check out GO DIE!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The QC Actor's studio

I have been ranting over on QCTImes on "The Burke Show" blog (or something like that) about his recent trip to California to undergo a "journalism/theater boot camp".

See the introduction to the series

I have tried to get a conversation going and have mostly failed. It appears to me that the trip was a waste of time and energy. It seems to me that time would have been better spent interviewing theater artists in the Quad Cities and finding out what their needs are. Instead, he went to see theater in California. What that will do to improve theater coverage in the Quad Cities I fail to see.

I've not been asked, but I'll put out some ideas that I think will help Quad Cities Theater/Arts coverage.

1. Support "classical" and "fine" arts as much as you support rock/country/pop acts.

2. Support local acts over national acts. When a national act is in town it dominates coverage getting front page coverage before and front page reviews after.

3. Educate critics (locally of course). There is one great critic and one or two good critics in the area.

4. The media should get more involved in local arts, and local arts more involved in the media. Again, 8am on Saturday isn't a big time slot to build an audience with, neither is page 3 or 5 in the Go section. Especially when theater shows are all mashed together under one headline.

There are other quibbles, but mostly the above 4 are a problem.

If the media would work with local artists we could build a nice "scene" in the area. We do have plenty of arts groups, but many are struggling. Excellence seems to be put down, not rewarded.

This can change. I enourage you to get involved in Mr. Burke's conversation. I encourage those bored newspaper writers/editors who may drift over here to spend some time going behind the scenes locally and asking/working with local artists to expand the arts scene which should reward the community and the paper equally.

A few good words is one thing. Media paired with artists is a driving force that we could use to promote the whole area and could be an engine for some economic expansion.

Anyway, just my rant for today, I suppose.

Peace all

Friday, March 16, 2007

Just a fun morning

I have the day off of work so I get to spend the whole morning writing!

Working on an Easter Drama and a longer work that is the most fun I've had writing in a long time.

So, I'd better get back to it.

Hope you all are having fun.

Post about your day, or anything off the wall.

(pic by me/caption by B. Metcalf)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Qconline takes on Radish

Go to this article read it and then go back to the top of the article and look just to the right to see what ads qconline has put with this article.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

driving vs. standing still

All sorts of peple are spewing invective at a woman who may not be the greatest mother in the world (of course, he who throws stones...etc.) but, apparently, did not break the law either.

A child died.

Now, the strange thing is: Which is more dangerous? A moving car on the highways and byways of our land? or A car sitting in a parking lot?
Do more kids die on the highways and byways of our land or in a parking lot?

In Iowa, it is child abuse, to leave your car in a stopped vehicle. Yet, I would bet, it is still much more dangerous to have your child in a moving car with both parents inside than leaving them alone in a parked car. I would bet. If it is not, please correct me. I would like to see the statistics. (I don't have the $$$ or the time that professional journalists have).

As George Carlin says: They want to ban toy guns...and KEEP the REAL ones!

Peace. Good job Walter Braud! The law is the law and it takes a good judge to stand up to the mob. Even with the law on your side.

Friday, March 09, 2007

What we walk by

I haven't been blogging much because of lack of response, and more interesting writing duties. Those few who do read seem to be enjoying themselves and I am happy with that.

I am taking time to bring up something that I have noticed recently, and something that I may write more on in some other forum. So I won't do much more than a summery here.

It is simply the beauty that we walk by every day. We pass by newness and beauty just because we refuse to look for it, and are drawn into recognition and "same old/same old" type of thought process.

Yet every day, every hour brings a new landscape whether you are flying to a new country or walking down the neighborhood street, or passing that house for the 30th time.

Take time to find something new, and relax. Same old/same old seems stressful, confining and boring. New beauty is relaxing and satisfying.

Again...more later. Would love to hear your thoughts.